England head coach Sarina Wiegman and defender Millie Bright spoke to the media on the eve of the Lionesses’ Euro 2022 semi-final against Sweden.
The hosts progressed to the last eight with a hard-fought extra-time victory over Spain in the last eight last week.
Here, the PA news agency takes a look at the build-up to the Bramall Lane clash.
The time is now for Lionesses
Wiegman led her native Holland to Euros success on home soil in 2017 and is aiming to take England to their first major trophy this time around.
England have lost in the semi-finals at each of their last three major tournaments – including losing to Wiegman’s Holland five years ago as well and the World Cups of 2019 and 2015.
But, when asked about those previous last-four exits, Wiegman – in charge of England since last September – said: “I think it’s necessary to be in the now.
“I do think you always have to learn from your experience and take out the things that you can take, to become better and learn.
“But it’s no use now to talk about that all the time, because it’s now, it is now. So why should we talk about that all the time?”
Sweden want to raise the VAR bar
Sweden have called into question the effectiveness of the video assistant referee at Euro 2022.
Stand-in captain Kosovare Asllani criticised UEFA for “using 50 per cent fewer cameras” at the women’s European Championship than the men’s, labelling the situation a “catastrophe”.
Peter Gerhardsson’s side have had five goals ruled out through VAR en route to the semi-finals and lodged a complaint over the decision to disallow Rebecka Blomqvist’s goal for offside during their 2-1 win over Switzerland on July 13.
“Using 50 per cent fewer cameras in our tournament than the men’s game, that is a catastrophe really,” Asllani said. “The decisions can’t be made with the same precision. It’s not just for us, for other teams. There are situations where I think you should have more cameras, that can be really decisive.”
UEFA has been approached for comment by PA.
The future is Bright
Former England international Karen Carney believes a Euro 2022 win for the Lionesses would elevate players like Millie Bright to world-class status.
Carney, who won 144 caps for her country, reckons deserved recognition has been missing due to a lack of major honours, but says a number of the squad can expect to see their profiles rise if Wiegman’s side lift the trophy at Wembley on Sunday.
“For a long time I’ve always felt (Bright) has been one of the best centre-backs in Europe,” the 34-year-old former Birmingham and Arsenal midfielder told PA.
“But over the next 12 months she could establish herself as being one of the best central defenders in the world and get the recognition perhaps that she hasn’t really had.
“I think it (a tournament win) would catapult the whole team but even more so the individuals.”
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Semi-final: England v Sweden (8pm, Bramall Lane)
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